In 2011, Americans spent a whopping $256 billion U.S. dollars making purchases online. That same year, American online shoppers spent $1.25 billion U.S. dollars on Cyber Monday alone! So what is everybody buying? In no particular order, the top five most frequently purchased items were clothes, furniture, computers, jewelry, and electronic music and gadgets. The most popular online vendor? You guessed it; Amazon.com. In fact, Amazons 2012 net revenue surpassed the $61 billion mark. Before embarking on your online shopping spree, there are a few online shopping tips you should follow.
The most important online shopping tip is security. According to an ecrime report, the number of web sites with malware have significantly increased. That is why when you send sensitive data (both personal and financial) you need to be sure the site you are dealing with protects its customers with the correct steps and security measures. The next online shopping tip would then be, how do you know if the online vendor guarantees the legitimacy of shopping transactions? It is pretty easy to tell, actually. Have you ever seen that padlock icon in your web browsers URL address field? That means your transaction is verified as secure. Another good indication that you are doing safe online shopping is to look back again at your browsers URL field; if it reads HTTPS instead of HTTP, the online vendor uses secure sockets layer (SSL), which also ensures secure internet shopping. Basically, if the online vendor does not have either of those things, take your business elsewhere. Another good online shopping tip rule of thumb is to stick to popular, established, and well known online vendors.
Other tips for online shopping that could save you money is to consider the vendors restocking fee, if applicable, and shipping fees. Most reputable sites do you pass the restocking fee onto their customers, but it is something to consider, especially if you are not sure the product you purchase will be the right fit. If the vendor does charge a restocking fee, choose a vendor with a reasonable fee. If their fee is more than 25 percent, keep searching. Similarly, when it comes to shipping costs, many sites offer promotions for free shipping with a minimum purchase. An important online shopping tip would be to do your research when assessing these fees.
An online shopping tip for finding the best deal depends on where you look. Some sites make it their business to sell overstocked merchandise. Chances are, the prices on these sites will be far less than the manufacturers suggested retail price. If you are unaware of these sites, many blogs and websites, such as RetailMeNot.com offer directories to the best web deals or online coupons.
The last but certainly not least online shopping tip comes down to YOUR security. Spend a little money on good computer virus, spyware, and malware protection software. Ensuring secure internet shopping is money well spent. A lot of what it takes to ensure a secure internet shopping spree is up to you, and may turn out to be the best online shopping tip of your online shopping career.